Feb. 29 could be leap day for humanity

Laurie Gourlay / Times Colonist Leap
December 5, 2015  Opinion/Editorial

In times of change, we need to be open to new ideas, opportunities that will wrest success from the jaws of defeat. Feb. 29 leaps off the 2016 calendar, offering itself up as a day we might all dare to be great.

Consider, an extra day to do with whatever we might. Not just one more day in a long year of work days, Feb. 29 could be that day when everything changes.

These days we find our communities, the greater good and our planet all challenged by climate change. All need time and money to renew and revitalize, to find a measure that meets our needs and those who will follow. A natural balance needs to be restored.

Why not then take that gift of an extra day and re-gift it for the betterment of our local communities, and help solve some global problems as well?

This gift, an extra day, offers itself to us at a time of need. Not dire, the-sky-is-falling need, but we have been given notice and climate change is upon us. We might then want to look at the 29th day of the second month of 2016 as a time to do something.

And, considering the alternative, we might want to do something significant, that our children will thank us for, that the world might come to see as a new beginning. Admittedly, that’s a lot to place on the shoulders of one day, but it’s worth a try. Isn’t it?

One day out of four years to work together, to be good citizens and to help preserve and protect the values, rights and benefits we all enjoy as a result of the sacrifices of countless generations before us. It’s not asking much.

Climate change, although not a war, will require the same strength, determination and resources that our parents, our society and our country dedicated in the past when threatened with sudden and brutal decimation by a foreign force.

Unwittingly unleashed by ourselves, this force of nature will require just as much of our generation if we are to find peace and prosperity once again.

Each generation faces its day of reckoning. This is ours. Do we have what it takes, and can we find the will, to meet the challenge of our times?

Every four years of our Gregorian calendar, we get to make a timely correction to the length of our year. Blessed with this extra day in 2016, we could set aside some of that time to help a community effort, and address climate change.

Or, busy people that we are, perhaps we’d rather donate an hour or two of our day’s wages instead? Businesses might want to tithe a portion of the day’s profit. Governments could match hour for hour, dollar for dollar, as they do when there’s a moral or ethical need to provide humanitarian aid.

Feb. 29 could become that proud, significant and meaningful day on which we each give a little something of ourselves to our neighbourhood, society, country … and the planet upon which we live and depend.

Feb. 29 could be that day that sees the 21st century draw a line in the sand. It’s a day with potential.

It’s new thinking, outside our daily clock.

With the world in mind, and New Year’s resolutions still to be made, Feb. 29 offers a chance to consider what we each could do to make a difference. It could be a day to give away, for the greater good, a small step in a shared journey that would take us a long way to our goals.

One day, one small step, and a giant leap for humankind.


Laurie Gourlay is president of the Vancouver Island and Coast Conservation Society.